North Dakota taxable sales and purchases show growth for ninth straight quarter

Shoppers walk the main hall of Fargo's West Acres mall with their purchases on July 24. Forum file photo

BISMARCK — Taxable sales and purchases were up nearly 8.4% statewide in the second quarter, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger announced Wednesday, Oct. 9.

Taxable sales and purchases for April, May and June of 2019 were $5.592 billion, up 8.37% over the same period in 2018.

That is slightly lower than the 9.7% growth reported in the first quarter, but it continues the overall growth trend of the past nine quarters.

“With North Dakota’s commodity-based economy dependent on worldwide factors influencing commodity prices, it is significant that the state has been able to post solid taxable sales and purchases growth each quarter for more than two years,” Rauschenberger said in a news release.

Of the six cities with the largest population in North Dakota, all posted second quarter increases in taxable sales and purchases, with Dickinson’s growth the largest at 12.3% and Grand Forks the smallest at 0.6%.


Minot’s growth in taxable sales and purchases was 6.16% for the quarter, West Fargo's was 3.45%, Fargo’s was 1.74%, and Bismarck's was 0.74%.

Nearly all industry sectors, and most cities and counties, showed increases in the second quarter. Western cities and counties generally grew at a faster pace due to growth in the oil and gas industry.

Twelve of the 15 major sectors reported taxable sales and purchases gains when compared to the second quarter a year ago. Most notably, the mining and oil extraction tax sector increased by $127 million, growth of nearly 18.5%.

Retail trade increased by $105 million, over 6.5% from 2018 levels. Some of the retail trade growth can be attributed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair that allows collection of state and local sales and use taxes from remote sellers.

Utilities rose from $49.2 million to $114.3 million; construction from $126.8 million to $149.2 million; and manufacturing from $269.4 million to $314.1 million.

Of the 50 largest cities in North Dakota, the highest percent increases for the second quarter of 2019 compared with second quarter 2018 were: Watford City, up 35.6%; Beulah, up 24.1%; Lincoln, up 21.4%; Washburn, up 20.7%; and Rolla, up 15.8%.

Counties with the highest percent increases for the second quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018 were: Burke, up 78%; Bottineau, up 32.8%; McKenzie, up 30.4%; Benson, up 24.9%; and Bowman, up 21.8%.

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